ATLANTA - Close to 80,000 bottles of Atlanta-brewed beer were gone in seconds.
The hops heist happened early Tuesday morning at the SweetWater Brewing Company in Atlanta. Company officials said more than 3,000 cases had been loaded into two 53-foot trailers ready to roll out in the morning. That's when thieves pulled up, hooked up the trailers and swiped the trailers full the suds.
Several hours later the trailers were found at separate locations. Both were empty. A few hours after that, about one-fourth of the beer was discovered in Conley, just south of Atlanta.
"There were ten pallets of SweetWater sitting on the top of some docks with a blue tarp on top of it," said Steve Farace with SweetWater Brewing Company.
The search is on for the rest of the brew and the thieves who took it. A spokesperson from the company says Tuesday afternoon Atlanta Police recovered more beer after a man told them a guy driving a tractor trailer cab sold him some beer. Another woman reached out to the brewery. "One consumer who learned of the theft from local news stories reached out to the brewery after a man driving a yellow truck's cab offered to sell her beer." says Tucker Berta Sarkisian with SweetWater.
"Hopefully there are some folks out there that will keep a lookout for SweetWater beer that's in a place that it shouldn't be," said Farace.
With the company's reputation on the line, when and if that beer is found, the company will destroy it because it has been handled or stored improperly.
"We're going to destroy it because we're not comfortable with it being sold under the name SweetWater name," said Farace.
Employees at the brewery will have to work overtime, to ensure there isn't a shortage as we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
"It's not like we have plenty more just sitting in the tank, we have to make more beer and that's a two week process for us to replenish all that," said Farace.